By Eric C. Deines
The Cabarrus Regional Chamber of Commerce is leading a charge to spark the local economy during a recession that some experts say may last until late 2009.
The efforts range from encouraging residents to invest responsibly in local goods and services to offering helpful workshops for local businesses.
“The bigger idea is to stimulate the economy by getting folks to responsibly spend,” said John Cox, president of the chamber. “We encourage folks to shop, shop locally.”
An interesting featuring the Chamber’s initiative is “Bart’s Trading Store,” a space provided on the Chamber Web site for business to offer goods in exchange for needs.
For instance, Concord’s Diane Overcash Paintings is offering a free painting or free art classes in exchange for a new credit card processor. And Blue Baboon Fun Time Events will trade its event rental items in exchange for home repair and business services like graphic design and printing.
“It’s gotten creative,” Cox said.
Bart’s Trading Store can be found at http://www.cabarruschamber.org.
On Monday, the Chamber and Rowan-Cabarrus Community College hosted to a free seminar, “Surviving Tough Economic Times,” for Chamber members.
Speakers included Paul Bessent with State Farm Insurance-Paul Bessent Agency, and Cloeann Durham with Coca Cola and MP Services.
“We’re trying to provide real-time information — trying to give people an idea of what the whole economy is going through,” said Cox.
He said several local businesses have had to adapt their growth plans in light of the economic downtown. For instance, Cox said, companies have changed three-year goals into five-year goals.
The Chamber also hosts the Cabarrus Job Network on its site, and is the early stages of developing a Small Business and Entrepreneurial Council to serve as a resource for emerging businesses — creating the Web site http://www.innovatormagnet.com as its first step.
• Contact reporter Eric C. Deines: 704-789-9141.